Hurricanes @ Predators Preview: Back To Business

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 01: Tuomo Ruutu #15 of the Carolina Hurricanes skates against Jordin Tootoo #22 of the Nashville Predators at the Bridgestone Arena on October 1, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

The Nashville Predators hope to get back to their winning ways at Bridgestone Arena against the Carolina Hurricanes, the 14th-ranked team in the Eastern Conference. Carolina comes into this one with a 4-11-4 record on the road this season, so it's essential for the Preds to re-establish their dominance on home ice, where they had won seven of eight before losing to Dallas on Thursday.

Follow after the jump for more on this matchup!

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Tale Of The Tape

Carolina (14-21-7) at Nashville (21-15-4)
CAR Offense vs. NSH Defense NSH Offense vs. CAR Defense
5-on-5
GF/60 SF/60 Shoot % GA/60 SA/60 Save %
CAR Offense 2.3 (17th) 28.1 (23rd) 8.2 (17th) 3.0 (28th) 31.0 (27th) 904 (25th) CAR Defense
NSH Defense 2.5 (11th) 30.8 (24th) 919 (11th) 2.2 (22nd) 26.4 (28th) 8.3 (16th) NSH Offense
GA/60 SA/60 Save % GF/60 SF/60 Shoot %
Special Teams
CAR PP vs. NSH PK NSH PP vs. CAR PK
GF/60 SF/60 Shoot % GA/60 SA/60 Save %
CAR 5-on-4 4.8 (23rd) 51.0 (12th) 9.3 (26th) 7.5 (26th) 54.3 (26th) 862 (24th) CAR 4-on-5
NSH 4-on-5 6.5 (21st) 52.7 (20th) 878 (16th) 6.6 (10th) 50.2 (14th) 13.1 (10th) NSH 5-on-4
GA/60 SA/60 Save % GF/60 SF/60 Shoot %

Goaltending has been a sore spot for the Hurricanes this season, an area in which the Preds should have the advantage tonight. When your skaters are even mildly underwater, that takes away any margin for error, and

Carolina Hurricanes

The Hurricanes have been one of the most disappointing teams in the Eastern Conference this season, losing the first three games of the season and never really getting on track afterward. The biggest blame has perhaps fallen on the shoulders of star center Eric Staal, who has been off to an abysmal start, but may be warming up now. After potting a goal and two assists last night, he now has 8 points in his last four games:


Eric Staal

#12 / Center / Carolina Hurricanes

6-4

205

Oct 29, 1984



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG
SOG PCT
2011 - Eric Staal 42 10 18 28 -23 18 4 0 2 149 6.7

They do come into tonight's game after defeating Buffalo on home ice by a 4-2 score, so we'll see what kind of jump they have coming out of the gate against the rested Preds.

Of course, we'll get to see new Hurricanes (and former Milwaukee Admirals) head coach Kirk Muller in action behind the bench. His ability to transform this team over the long haul was noted as one of the 10 Keys to 2012 over at Canes Country:

Carolina's already showing a different playing style under its new coach, but Muller will need to time to implement exactly what he wants his team to do on a nightly basis. That may not fully come to fruition until next year's training camp, but so far the Hurricanes are making strides in transitioning from Maurice's systems to Muller's.


Carolina Hurricanes Last 5 Games

Buffalo Fri 01/06 W 4 - 2
New York Islanders Tue 01/03 SO - L 3 - 4
@ Tampa Bay Sat 12/31 L 2 - 5
Toronto Thu 12/29 OT - W 4 - 3
@ Pittsburgh Tue 12/27 L 2 - 4

Nashville Predators

The man of the hour these days is Jordin Tootoo, who is enjoying a career season and is perhaps Nashville's hottest scorer these days, with 6 goals and 10 assists in 19 games dating back to November 22 vs. Edmonton. He has at least one shot on goal in 22 straight games, and is doing all this despite ranking 9th among Nashville forwards in average ice time.

Not bad work at all for a guy seeking a new contract.


Jordin Tootoo

#22 / Right Wing / Nashville Predators

5-9

199

Feb 02, 1983



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG
SOG PCT
2011 - Jordin Tootoo 38 6 13 19 3 60 1 0 1 83 7.2

The story to keep an eye on later today is whether or not Colin Wilson is ready to go - he's missed the last three with his mysterious upper body injury, and said he was feeling good a couple days ago, so hopefully he can be cleared for tonight's game. With some tough opponents coming up next week, the Predators need to lock down two points tonight, and avoid taking the Hurricanes lightly.

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